Germans are protesting like it’s 1933
The rise of the far right, a philosophical response and one couple’s resistance
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The Big Story:
Germans are protesting the rise of the far right and there are plans for a significant rally in Berlin with a human chain around the Reichstag, seat of parliament. Some say there are grave and frightening echoes of 1933.
- That’s when Austrian-born Adolf Hitler took power in Germany, following election wins by his National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party. It was also when the Reichstag burned down in an arson attack, giving Hitler the excuse to suspend civil liberties and start a 12-year dictatorship.
- The current German protests – as well as spillover demonstrations in neighbouring Austria – are prompted by leaked news of a below-the-radar discussion between far right politicians and neo-Nazi activists on plans for the mass deportation of foreigners should they gain power. German citizens of foreign ethnicity would also be deported.
- That meeting was attended by members of the far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the main opposition centre-right Christian Democratic Union, some German businesspeople and a leading Austrian extreme right ideologue.
- The AfD, which is against immigration and has called for the protection of “western Christian culture”, has been polling in second place nationally.
- It models itself on Austria’s far-right Freedom party (FPO), which is also polling strongly, ahead of Austrian elections later this year.
- Some compare the modern far right’s mass deportation proposals to the Nazis’ initial plan to deport European Jews to Madagascar.
- Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has pointed out that today’s far right discussed their mass deportation plan at a venue close to where the Nazis, exactly 82 years ago, coordinated the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”, ie, the systematic murder of millions of European Jews.
- Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the AfD wants “to go back to the dark times of racial madness”.
- Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared, “If there is one thing that must never again have any place in Germany, it’s the ethno-racial ideology of the National Socialists”.
- European commentators caution that the battle against the far right cannot be won with streets protests or even party bans, but “with better policies”.
This Week, Those Books:
- A vivid portrait of a freethinker who grappled with the reality of the Nazis.
- A novel set in Hitler’s Germany about the boldness of the meek.
- Insight into how far the extreme right has come in our society.
Read on at https://thisweekthosebooks.substack.com